How to grow big onions

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by GBov, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. GBov

    GBov Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It seems that no matter how I plant my onion sets - deep, shallow, wide apart, close together, lots of water, little water, weed all the time, weeds all over - they are ALWAYS small :grumble:

    How does one grow nice big sweet onions?
     
  2. oneokie

    oneokie Well-Known Member

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    Have you done a soil test to check for fertility?
     

  3. NickieL

    NickieL Accidental Farmer

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    I plant mine in good compost in loose soil, barly cover them. Mine get big if I have a long cool spring like last year. The only onese that didn't get big last year were the sets I planted a couple weeks later as there was a shortage with the red ones last spring and were harder to find.
     
  4. majik

    majik Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if it was a fluke, but last year, I mulched my onions heavily with leaves. Ended up with the biggest onions I ever had. Will try again this year and see what happens.
     
  5. Allen W

    Allen W Well-Known Member

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  6. piccololily

    piccololily Well-Known Member

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    Onions need really fertile soil...push the top growth early and quickly with lots of nitrogen, and they will be able to produce bigger bulbs. Onions and garlic both are VERY heavy feeders. I had the same problem until I learned this. I now have big onions!
     
  7. GBov

    GBov Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To answer some of your questions..............

    Pure sand with old horse manure added. I am once again starting a garden from scratch :sob: but hopefully THIS time I will keep it for a few years. Am waiting for Black Cow manure to go on sale - as mum insists it will - to add another kind of organic goodness to the sand.

    Little onion bulbs. I WANTED little plants but they were all gone when I got down to the shop.

    NO idea on the fertility but looking at the weeds growing in my garden area, not much!

    Mulching, tried that last year with oak leaves but might try this year with composted manure put on an inch at a time.

    The funny thing is that the few times I have grown garlic I get nice big bulbs.

    How odd is that?

    Mum says its just the family small onion curse but am trying to break it :pound: so THANKS for your help and suggestions!!!
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    To grow big sweet onions, start out with a variety which will grow big and sweet. If you were planting from sets, none of those are sweet or large. The ones you want are mostly available as plants, never as sets. Your biggest would be 1015Y Texas Supersweet. Another would be Yellow Granex. Sweetest probably would be White Bermuda. All would require a 1-2-2 ratio fertilizer to start and side dressing of nitrogen every 3 weeks during the active growing period for best results.

    Martin
     
  9. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    Onions need at least 1 inch of water per week. Chose varieties that will grow in your area. Got to www.dixondalefarms.com and check out their map to find out your onion zone. Onions are very sensitive to length of day to trigger bulbing.Take a look at their recommendations and suggested planting times. In NY , my order is coming next week. It is probably too late to plant in your area.
    Linda
     
  10. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Onion roots are shallow and coarse -- they can't stand competition from weeds. I had NEVER gotten good onions until last year, when I (finally) kept them weeded and watered -- they were HUGE and we are still eating the keeper, Copra.
     
  11. mamato3

    mamato3 Well-Known Member

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    O im still trying to get big onions. This yr ive got 3 areas of onions going. I was told onions dont get big in my area but as i see here that was a lie. My hubby bought a kind call candy i got some red bulbs unsure of the name so i will try your guys tips and hope for the best
     
  12. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    I deep mulch everything and onions are no exception. I lay a thick bed of hay down and then poke the onion plants into the soil beneath. They don't get any more water than any one else but the mulch keeps them moist and weed free.
    The variety is important , in Florida you need to get a short-day variety.
     
  13. GBov

    GBov Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I got my sets at Ace so have my fingers crossed that THEY were selling the right kind!

    Next year will be planting heritage or at least varieties for this area but for now have bog standard seed packets and sets.

    You do know that gardeners live longer, dont you? Its because we always have plans for next year we want to hang around for lol.
     
  14. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    With sets, there is no right or wrong kind. They are day-neutral and either Ebenezer or Stuttgarter varieties. Few other onions are ever available as sets and definitely no short day varieties.

    Martin
     
  15. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

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    this is the best answer imho

    Martin- I have found a farmers supply locally that sells sets for big yellow sweet onions- been getting them for the last 3 years- they are pricey though- $3.50 per pound and this years sets were in poor shape.
     
  16. Missy M

    Missy M Well-Known Member

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    Chose smaller sets, no bigger than a dime. They are less likely to bolt in the heat.
     
  17. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Forgive me but I can't resist- I sure hope the family small onion curse has no effect on the size of the carrots!
     
  18. Oldcountryboy

    Oldcountryboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You got to pinch any seed heads off, pull the dirt away from the bulbs so they can grow and break over the green tops to encourage bulb growth. This will make the heads bigger.
     
  19. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

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    If you buy plants, you shouldn't have any flowers to pinch. Sets are in their second season and so it is natural for them to set seed. Plants on the other hand are in their first year so it is rare to have them go to seed. Please everyone, if you can start your own onions from seed or if you can buy started plants, do so. You will be much happier with sweet varieties than with sets.
    Linda
     
  20. braggscowboy

    braggscowboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When should one bend the tops over on the onions to encourage larger onions? Thanks!